2021 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Tulsa
Ohio State finds itself in an unfamiliar spot since Ryan Day has been head coach, and that is with a regular season loss. Fortunately, the Buckeyes are still in the top 10 in the polls, and have the next two weeks to work on fixing some of the issues with defense. Unfortunately, they will not get to test themselves until the last week of October against a team with similar talent when Penn State comes to town in what could be the biggest game of the year in the Big Ten East.
Ryan Day addressed this week that changes were coming to the defense, and what those changes look like will have to be seen. With Josh Proctor out for the rest of the year, the Buckeye defense will have to either adapt to a different strategy than 1 deep safety to fit its personnel, or they can try and disguise coverages a bit more to hide their blitz packages and reads. One thing for sure though is that the confidence in defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is waining to the point of even question a complete change for that position.
The best way to learn and move forward is with the next game, and the Buckeyes have a chance to flex their muscles a bit, and hope to show their growth against a team coming in without a win in Tulsa. This game will be a change of pace with a 3:30pm kickoff time, and will hopefully bring as loud of a crowd as it was for the Oregon game.
Head Coach: Philip Montgomery (6th Season)
2021 Record: 0-2
Location: Tulsa, OK
Ohio State Preview: Ohio State is still in the national title hunt despite its loss, but is not in control of their own destiny. To put themselves in the best position, they will have to win out, and for games such as this one, win convincingly. The Buckeyes will be under a microscope from here on out, and will be graded on how their defense improves from here. A lot of comparison’s have been thrown around about the 2014 season, but they will need to get some help along the way and correct their issues, or else it will go the way of the 2017 season.
CJ Stroud is still learning and still growing at the position, and Ryan Day even admitted he might have put too much on the freshman last week. Even though the Buckeyes loss, Stroud threw for nearly 500 yards, and gives him 778 yards on the year, with 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He will need to settle a bit on his throws, and the offense should be in good shape.
Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson were the only running backs who say the field last week. Williams has 202 yards on 23 carries, and 1 touchdown. Henderson has 69 yards on 14 carries and 1 touchdown as well.
Chris Olave and Garret Wilson both are the shining stars for the receivers, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba is making his own name as well. Olave has 243 yards and 2 touchdowns for the year so far, with Wilson behind him with 197 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Smith-Njigba 3rd with 157 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Tulsa Preview: Philip Montgomery is in his 6th season head coaching for the Golden Hurricane. They enter this game with 2 losses already, with the first loss coming from FCS opponent UC Davis. Their second game and loss was against a bit more formidable opponent in Oklahoma State. Thye are coming off a season after competing in the AAC Championship, but lost some talent from last season to this season.
Davis Brin is the leading passer with 425 yards, and 2 interceptions. He also has 34 yards rushing. The two main running backs are Deneric Prince, who has 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Shamari Brooks, who has 106 yards on 20 carries. Keylon Stokes is the primary target with 6 catches for 114 yards.
Buckeye Spotlight: The Defense. The offense should be fine in this game, but the defense will be what most people will be watching in this game to see what strides and changes have been made from last week and this week.
Golden Hurricane Spotlight: Denric Prince. Ohio State has not been good stopping the run this season, which was a point of emphasis for season’s past. The best chance the Golden Hurricane have of making this game interesting is if Prince is able to get the yardage he needs to keep converting first downs and extending drives.
Water Cooler Stats of the Game: 1-0. The Buckeyes and Tulsa have only played one time before which was back in 2016 where the Buckeyes won 48-3. That game had weather delays and issues to where the second half was postponed. The skies look clear for Columbus for game time.
Prediction: No disrespect to the Tulsa football team, but this game should not be close or competitive if the Buckeyes are the team the fans expect them to be. The defense should show improvement, but the offense will be humming enough to where the lead is too big to be a concern. If the 2nd and 3rd string players are not playing by the middle to end of the second half, something went wrong.
Ohio State 56 – Tulsa 14.